's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Good Neighbors

Submitted by DOLPHIN'D (email)

March 31st, 2039

Dear diary,

Do you remember when the worms came? It started in our very yard. Some sort of zit popped up in our yard like a mole hill. We asked the landlord about it, and he had never seen anything like it before. We called in an exterminator, but pesticides weren't doing anything to the worms. It didn't stop them from leaking out at night and ruining my flowerbed. We kept trying to find solutions while those crimson roots slowly took over my whole lawn and the nightcrawlers slowly began to dominate my anxieties.

It wasn't until the kids let the bulldog out, despite my warnings, that we finally realized how bad it was. She was good at taking out the worms in the house, though they occasionally bit her, but coming from an anniversary date with John to find her infested corpse sticking tail-end-up out of the hive was enough to make me cough up my lobster bisque.

The exterminator dug down until he found the hive, a misshapen, throbbing ball of blood and skin, and set it on fire. Imagine our surprise when the worms reached out and pulled him in with them! Ha! We were on the news for a good few weeks, though none of us were happy about it. We already had enough house guests as it was. We didn't need more visitors knocking on the door.

The five minutes of fame were not to last. While our house had been almost completely colonized, new hives were popping up elsewhere. Do you remember those long nights I spent writing in you, diary? Nights when I couldn't sleep, for the sounds of the beating heart and the worms traveling through the vents kept me up all night? When I was afraid of being devoured in my sleep? I was so silly, wasn't I? There was nothing to fear. The worms are good neighbors. They wouldn't harm me.

But people weren't nearly so accustomed as we are now. Even when the worms came out of their homes to explore, people were so scared. They tried everything they could to destroy them. So rude! They killed lots of worms, so the worms needed more valuable meat to make more. They only took what they needed, of course. Just self-defense and a court-decreed fine in one swift action. Nothing more or less.

The government tried to remove them by force. They tried so hard. I was forced to evacuate my home before it was bombed. The worms did not like that. The worms made new homes and defended them mercilessly. It was beautiful, how they acted as one. I remember seeing footage of the worms catching up with a tank, rolling in like a monsoon and seeping through the cracks, dismantling the

turrets and the treads with zealous force. I live near that tank now and leave my garbage there. The worms are very happy with their new home.

I am, too! My new home is nice and warm and wet. The sounds of worms around me are such a lovely lullaby, and that beating heart in the basement is so soft and luxurious. John left me back in '35 over the worms, but that's okay. I won custody of the kids, and it's so much easier to take care of them now that my workplace has collapsed due to the worms' remodeling. We can just cook a few of the older worms that are left behind from the communities that roll across the landscape. We lost our car after the worms repurposed it, but the squishy worm ground is so much easier on my feet. They're such lovely neighbors!

I hear the government is still trying to find a way to kill the worms, but that's hardly fair, don't you think, diary? After all, the worms haven't hurt the government, have they? We coexist together now. We eat their stragglers, they clean up our mess, and we don't fight. It's a lovely relationship! If the worms were to go away... What a scary thought! Don't you agree, diary? The worms are all we have now.

The worms are the only thing holding us together now.